The House of Special Purpose

The House of Special Purpose

A Story by Michael Miranda

This is a story about the death of the Romanovs from the perspective of a soldier.


By confessing this crime, I am willingly branding myself a traitor to the Motherland; a crime that is not handled very lightly.  But my conscience has finally won the best of me, and come what may, I feel it is time that everyone knew the truth.  I will now confess my part in the assassination of Tsar Nicholas the second and his family.

            I was a soldier with the Red Army during the Russian Civil War in the early part of the nineteen-hundreds.  The country was becoming weary over the ineptitude of our ruler, Tsar Nicholas Romanov; and we were planning to overthrow him.  Eventually we managed to bring down the monarchy and remove the Tsar from his seat. After we forced Nicholas to abdicate the throne, the entire family was placed on house arrest with Red Guards watching them every second of the day.  The war was not over though.  Even though a provisional government was installed, there were still those supportive of Nicholas who hoped to return him to the throne, we had to prevent this at all costs.

            The imprisonment of the Tsar and his family in the capital lasted from March twenty-second, nineteen-seventeen until August of that same year.  As the political opposition closed in on us in the capital, and the fear of Nicholas being rescued to use him as a rallying point increased, it was decided that he and his family should be moved.  For safety we moved him to Tobolsk, a small town in Tyumen Oblast. 

They were given many freedoms in this place.  It was almost as if they were not our captives.  We tried to give them as much of the comfort of their old lives as we could.  But as the revolution raged on, the conditions of their imprisonment became stricter and there were many talks amongst us soldiers of putting Nicholas on trial for his crimes against the Russian people. On the first of March in the year nineteen-eighteen, the conditions of confinement became so strict that the family was reduced to living on our rations.

            As the year moved on, we were gaining strength in Moscow. It was due to this that Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, and one of their daughters; were all moved to Yekaterinburg in April.  One of the children was too ill to move with the parents, so he was left behind with his three sisters until May of the same year. 

Things were not going well though, and it was feared that eventually the opposition would close in on us.  Knowing this, close attention was paid to the direction the opposition was coming from and where they intended to go.  But, unfortunately for the former Tsar, it was discovered that the opposition was making its way to Yekaterinburg.  Things became tenser for the soldiers and the house of the Tsar’s imprisonment, and we were becoming restless. It was summarily decided that Nicholas and his entire family would be executed. 

On the seventeenth of July in the year nineteen-eighteen, we were told to prepare our arms for the execution of the former Royal Family.  A telegram sent from Moscow by a man named Sverdlov was sent to Commander Yakov Yurovsky, requested that the Romanov’s doctor, Botkin was his name, wake the family up and have them quickly dress.  After the family was dressed, we escorted them into a small basement room; Nicholas requested that two chairs be brought in.  They had no idea of what was about to happen. 

Once everyone was in the basement room, Nicholas and his family along with four of their servants; Commander Yurovsky walked in with the telegram in his hand and looked at Nicholas casually and stated that in view of the fact that his family was continuing to attack Soviet Russia, it had been decided by the Ural Executive Committee that he would be executed.  Nicholas looked stunned and couldn’t quite comprehend what was said.  He asked Yurovsky to repeat the message in disbelief.  Yurovsky got agitated and threw the telegram down; he then pulled out his sidearm and shot Nicholas directly through the heart killing him instantly. 

That was our signal, and we began to open fire on the family.  It had originally been planned that there would be one of us for each person to be shot, but after the Tsar was killed, we all began firing at random, and with the small dimensions of the room, we were soon engulfed in the smell of gun powder and smoke.  It got so unbearable that Yurovsky ordered all of us out of the room and after making sure the door was open; we stood aside waiting for the smoke to clear before going back into the room to finish our task. 

Going back into the room, we checked to see who was still alive.  The boy, Alexei, had died instantly like his father, and beside them were the bodies of the former Tsarina Alexandra, and Grand Duchess Olga, the oldest of the daughters.  Against the walls were the bodies of the doctor, the Tsarina’s chamber maid, and the chauffeurs of the family.

One of the guards, his name shall remain secret, took off his bayonet and began to stab everyone within reach to make sure they were dead.  This disgusted most of us, but our fear of being seen as traitors held us from stopping the guard from acting so brutishly.  Despite the stories that went around for so long, Grand Duchess Anastasia was in fact murdered that day.  Her body was seen amongst those of her sisters, the Grand Duchesses Maria and Tatiana. 

The Russian Royal Family was no more.  After our ghoulish work was done, we all left to prepare the trucks they would use to transport and dispose of the bodies.  After all the bodies were safely in the truck and concealed, they were driven towards Koptyaki Forest where they would be buried.  We had to make sure that the remains couldn’t be found, or that if they were found, it would be hard to identify them.  So, we buried all but two of the children in a small mine shaft in the forest.

 The other two bodies, those of Alexei and Anastasia, were moved to a location that only a few people knew.  I wasn’t at that burial site, but I heard stories from the other surviving guards that the bodies were burned in an attempt to disfigure them and prevent identification. After finishing up our work, we went back to the house to clean up any evidence of what had transpired there before returning to Moscow to await orders. 

As I finished my soldier duties in Moscow, I came to think more and more of the crimes I had committed in Yekaterinburg, but because I was still, at the time, a soldier, I could not reveal what I knew or else I risked the life of my family.  But, in the year nineteen-twenty a woman revealed herself to be Grand Duchess Anastasia, and this compelled me to share my story, so that when it was safe to reveal what actually happened on that terrible day in July, the truth would be known to all. 

There were many attempts to credit and discredit this woman claiming to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, and this shame, along with the knowledge that people were making pilgrimages to the death site, caused the Russian Government to eventually tear down the house in which the Romanovs’ murders took place.

I wished as much as anybody that there could be hope of a survivor from that execution, but the level of brutality shown that morning left no doubts in my mind that everyone was killed. 

It is with a heart made heavy with guilt and remorse that I share this story with whoever will believe an Old Russian soldier.  I never signed up for the level of brutality I was forced to take part in that day.  I wish every day that we would have just exiled him along with his family, but what’s done is done and I can’t take it back.  I hear that the family was eventually canonized as passion-bearers, no less than they deserve for what they were put through. 

I’m not proud of what I did.  As a matter of no consequence to you, I hate myself more and more every day for what we did to the women and children.  They were innocent in the broader sense of the word, just casualties of the political turmoil that faced us in the early years of a new century.

I hope that by reading this, people will come to see the terrible choices given to us that day and the terrible price most of us paid.  I’m not the only one who felt remorse for these people.  But, I’m the only one left alive to share with you the events that transpired at the House of Special Purpose.

© 2012 Michael Miranda

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Michael Miranda

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Added on October 27, 2012
Last Updated on October 30, 2012
Tags: History, Russia, Czar Nicholas, Anastasia, Roamnov


Michael Miranda
Michael Miranda

Philadelphia, PA

I' m an aspiring short story writer and poet. I hope to one day be published on some kind of well read scale. It's my dream not to make money from my writing, but to share my views of the world with.. more..